Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday's Moment: Pink Sunset

** Edited: Pink Sunset was taken several days before TC Winston hit Fiji. Same trees after the storm.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

When life gives you limes.....

you make LIMEADE!

With the arrival of our UAB last week, we now have my citrus press (can't wait till our HHE arrives and I can use my new KitchenAid citrus juicer attachment I got for Christmas!!). We went online to find a limeade recipe. Our first batch, when we started adding water to get up to the 2 quarts, about halfway there it was already watered down (not enough limes). We added the rest of the limes we had picked at the time and had super sweet hint of lime water. Ever since, we've been tweaking with the lime to sugar to water ratio. We are trying to get the perfect amount of tartness for Richard but still have enough sweetness for the rest of us to enjoy too.

The basic how to:

After acquiring a plethora of limes, get a cute helper.

Put the sugar in your pitcher, squeeze the juice out of your limes (we squeezed over a small colander since the limes have a ton of seeds). Lick the occasional lime to make sure it is still tart.

Then add water, lick lips while you imagine how good it will be, and stir it all about (doesn't hurt to also sing a song about the lime and a coconut while making limeade too).

Limeade Recipe:
Juice of ~8-9 medium-large limes
2/3 cup sugar
add water to make 2 quarts of limeade

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Backyard Fauna: Fiji Edition

As promised.....backyard fauna....if your are not a fan of things that go bump in the night then you might not want to look at the pictures......

While in temporary housing, we do not have any local TV stations. We had gotten used to having TV while living it up in the hotel (there is already a dish on the house, but when we went to pick up a box we were told they were out and come back in 3 weeks....aaah Fiji Time....that would be close to when we would be moving to our final house and it just wouldn't make sense to pay a transfer fee for just a few days). So what do we do after swimming and dinner when you only have a handful of toys that fit into your suitcase? We go into the backyard to feed mosquitos, admire the beautiful colors the sky changes to, watch the fruit bats fly overhead, chase frogs and spy on geckos.

The evening light gives everyones skin a nice warm glow.....

But that nice glow still can't hide the tween attitude though....

The Polynesian flying fox (aka fruit bat) is most likely the ones we see flying overhead, hear fighting when we crawl into bed (they are noisy critters), and find the remains of their half eaten fruit on our driveway in the morning. They flit and flitter a little too quickly to really get a good look at.

Preparing to land

Mid-air chase

This shot gives you a good idea as to how many are flying around. Once we get our car, we are going to head down to the water front where there are several 'bat trees' where they roost during the day and it is pretty cool at dusk when they are all taking off I have heard.....

If you don't spontaneously start singing the classic Batman theme song while looking at this shot, we can't be friends anymore....

A little difficult to see (it is dusk after all), if you look on the end of the red branch of fruit you can see a bat with outstretched wings.

Here's a video of them flying around. I'm not sure if that is a bat squawk or a bird that you hear.

After a few minutes, the kids are bored of bats and start stalking the frogs/toads. Cane toads are not native to Fiji and were brought here in the 1950s to help with a beetle that was destroying the sugar cane. The toads have done quiet well if my yard is any indication of population health. Late afternoon, you can look under the back up generator and find them there.

In the evening (and whenever it rains) though, they scatter throughout the yard and the hunt to catch one is on.

Mason is brave to hunt bare foot.....he has yet to experience the joy of stepping on a toad by accident....I may or may not have done that in the evening, a cab dropped us off after dinner and a toad appeared somewhat paralyzed by the headlights (maybe it was thinking 'if I don't move they won't see me sitting on this rock'??), so I was able to pick it up and hand it to Clarissa. Unfortunately, before I was able to get my phone out to take a picture it went into true fight/flight mode and peed on her hand and she promptly dropped it on the ground. She is now happy to just chase and touch the toads as seen here.

One morning, I was able to get a decent shot of one near some vegetation with better lighting.

Our final evening friends to find are geckos.

They like to party by the flood light bug buffets.

We have come across a banana stealing monkey on occasion.....

Mason found a 100% intact but deceased rhinoceros beetle...we now have a budding entomologist (well, he at least wants to start a bug collection....). We see lots of colorful butterflies, but they are too quick for me to get pictures of.

There is also some skinks (too quick to tell if there are green or blue tailed skinks). I saved one that was in the pool one day (they swim like snakes in case you were wondering....little freaky!), but he hung out on my hand until Mason got a picture and then I set him on the side of the pool and he scurried into a crack in the side of the house.

Inside the house (so not exactly backyard fauna), we have found a number of darker geckos. So far we have named this inside "pets" Bob, Steve, Julio, and Happy. Here are pictures of Steve and Happy (Happy was maybe an inch long including tail)....we've heard geckos in the house are a sign of good luck. With the number of ant attacks we've had in the house...I'm fine with a few geckos in the house to gobble up those ants and other pests.


So that's all of the backyard fauna we've caught "on film" so far....we have seen 2 mongooses (mongeese?) while driving around. There are a number of birds I have yet to identify and photograph as well....but we do have two years so I have a little bit of time to get those.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Backyard Flora: Fiji Edition

Warning: This post contains lots of photos of flowers....if you don't like pretty things, don't read :)

So as I mentioned in a previous post, we moved into some temporary housing. Our house is not quite ready and this house is getting ready to leave the housing pool so it works out well for us. It is tricky in that you want to unpack everything and get settled, but I know we move again in a few we have a mountain of suitcases in the corner of the den (no use looking for somewhere to stash them), one of which is a under sink cabinet of sorts ("Mom, I'm out of xyz", "get a new one out of the gray suit case"). So with no unpacking to do, why not piddle around the yard taking pictures of flowers and then share them.....

The yard at our temporary house is beautifully landscaped with all kinds of flowers and plants. We have not seen the yard at our permanent house (we did drive by our final house and it appears there are some papaya trees in the yard hopefully we will be pleasantly surprised with some flowers there as well). Most of the plants in this yard I can identify....thanks to the internet. Enjoy.


Ginger Lily

Kings Mantle
Mexican Petunia
Bird of Paradise (I think)

Ixora Flowers
Fancy Hibiscus (or Chinese Lantern Hibiscus)
Different colors of Ixora Flowers

Lime Tree - Limeade anyone?
Banana Tree
Can't wait till they are ripe!

Banana Flower and Baby Bananas

Possibly another type of Hibiscus 

Flame Tree (or Christmas Tree) - Neighbor's tree but covers a good portion of our yard

Technically in the neighbors yard...but can be seen from ours.
Coming up next.....backyard fauna.....